Karnataka is the third largest state in peninsular India. It is surrounded by Maharashtra to the north, Goa and the Arabian Sea to the west, Andhra Pradesh to the east and Tamil Nadu and Kerala to the south. The Capital is Bangalore, which is the most cosmopolitan city with Mysore, Mangalore and Hubli being other major cities. Kannada is the principal language, although there is a sizeable population of Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Konkani and Hindi speaking people. English is the lingua franca helping the people from diverse cultural backgrounds to communicate freely.
The state is blessed with one of the best forested regions of the country (more than 32,000sq km of forest cover). These are the Western Ghats, running parallel to the Arabian Sea coast on the west, along the length of the state. The tri-state junction in the south forms the Nilgiri Bio-sphere Reserve, one of the top global bio-diversity hotspots, and it also hosts a handful of national parks, mostly in the southern parts of the state. The rest of the state, on the eastern side, is a flat plain comprising the Deccan Plateau. Altitudes vary from sea level on the western coast to about 300m in most of the north & north-east, about 600m in most of the south and south-east and 900m+ towards the south-east side where the Western Ghats begin. The state is blessed with a coastline of approximately 270km (Mangalore-Karwar) dotted with some of the finest beaches and sacred religious places. Numerous rivers like the Krishna, Tungabhadra, Netravati, Kalinadi and Pennar enrich the state with their perennial flow as most of them originate in the Western Ghats. The state is also well developed industrially and has many universities offering education at all levels.
The state enjoys a quite long winter and is a frequent stopover point for winter migrants. Bar-headed Geese can been seen in very big flocks in Mysore and some regions of north Karnataka. Karnataka also plays host to a large number of winter breeders like the Painted Stork, White Ibis, etc. Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, situated about 80Kms from Mysore is one of the most active nesting areas.
Tourism is a major industry in the state,providing the tourists with a wide variety of choice in religious,historical,eco & wildlife and leisure sectors.
Karnataka treats a visitor to an authentic flavor of the peninsular India with it's numerous options.
Anshi National Park
A 250sq km national park (the final declaration of its status is pending) that lies in the Western Ghats adjoining Goa state and the Dandeli National Park. It is located in the Uttara Kannada district and consists of semi-evergreen & evergreen forests. Apart from birds you may see Elephant, Tiger, Gaur, Wildboar, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Mouse Deer, Slender Loris, Indian Wild dog, Malabar giant squirrel and Giant flying squirrel, the Big 4 venomous snakes & Indian rock Python. Special birds include Great pied Hornbill Buceros bicornis, Malabar pied Hornbill Anthracoceros coronatus, & Srilanka Frogmouth Batrachostomus monileger.
Bandipur National Park
The park stretches over 874 square kilometers (337 sq mi), protecting the wildlife of Karnataka. Together with the adjoining Nagarhole National Park (643 km2 (248 sq mi)), Mudumalai National Park (320 km2 (120 sq mi)) and Wynad Wildlife Sanctuary (344 km2 (133 sq mi)), it forms the largest protected area in Southern India, totaling 2,183 km2 (843 sq mi). It is notable as the home to around seventy Bengal tigers and over three thousand Indian elephants (in 1997 ) Bandipur is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve…
Gudavi Bird Sanctuary
A small bird preserve with a large tank and surrounding dense moist deciduous forest and agricultural fields. Noted for its migratory and resident waterfowl. About 8000 White Ibis are recorded annually.
Kabini River Lodge
About 6 hrs drive from Bangalore, this is a favourite spot for wildlife lovers in the dry season. Kabini River Lodge on the banks of River Kabini, was once the hunting lodge of the erstwhile Maharaja of Mysore…
Kudremukh National Park
A 600 sq km of pristine wilderness area nestled in western ghats is known for the nature's bounty in the form of it's numerous rivers and beautiful landscapes. The story of this national park is one of the sweetest success stories for the environmental NGOs of India who fought tirelessly for decades to close down mining operations of a large mining corporation in the core area and replant the area destroyed by their activities. The park is a mixture of evergreen and semi-evergreen forests and Shola grasslands which supports Tiger, Leopard, Gaur, Lion-tailed Macaque and such top birds as Malabar Trogon Harpactes fasciatus, Great Pied Hornbill, Malabar Whistling Thrush Myophonus horsfieldii, and Mountain Imperial Pigeon Ducula badia.
Mookambika Wildlife Sanctuary
This 247sq km sanctuary comprises evergreen,semi-evergreen and moist deciduous forests. Located in the Udipi district,approximately 425 km from Bangalore and 130km from Mangalore. Atractions include Lion-tailed Macaque, Giant Squirrels and Slender Loris and the endangered Cane Turtle. Top birds include White-bellied Treepie Dendrocitta leucogastra and Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus flammeus.
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
A winter spot for birds and birders. Some species of birds that are known to have made Ranganathittu their breeding abode are Spoonbills, Open-bill Storks, Darters, White Ibis, Little Cormorants, River Tern etc.
Selected Additional Sites
Attiveri Bird Sanctuary - a 2.23sq km bird sanctuary in and around the Attiveri reservoir, located in Uttara Kannada district approximately 400km from Bangalore via Shiggaon and 43km from Hubli.
Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary - situated in the western ghats comprising moist and dry deciduous forests it is a 492sq km sanctuary which is recently upgraded to a Project Tiger Reserve. Noted for Rubythroated Bulbul Pycnonotus melanicterus, Shama Copsychus malabaricus, Malabar Whistling Thrush, 4 species of the Hornbills, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus, Rufous Woodpecker Celeus brachyurus, & White bellied Woodpecker Dryocopus javensis.
Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary - particularly noted for Rufous bellied Hawk-eagle Hieraaetus kienerii.
Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary - noted for Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica, Black Bulbul Hypsipetes leucocephalus, Malabar Trogon.
Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary - noted for Sirkeer Cuckoo Phaenicophaeus leschenaultia, Greenbilled Malkoha Phaenicophaeus tristis and Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopus nanus.
Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary - One of the last patches of pristine forests in the Western Ghats, which extends over 475 sq km. Noted for White-cheeked Barbet Megalaima viridis.
Ghataprabha Bird Sanctuary - Situated along the Ghataprabha river and has an area of 30sq km. Noted for water birds.
Number of Species
Number of bird species: 524
State Bird: Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis
* Field Guides & Bird Song
For a comprehensive list of recommended titles covering India as a whole - please see the main India page of Fatbirder
Bird Sounds of Goa and South India
Hannu Jannes, WildSounds
ISBN: 156613Buy this book from NHBS.com
Birds of Hill Region of Karnataka
An Introduction - AK Chakravarthy and KPPC Tejasvi 148 pages, col & b/w photos, line illus, maps. Navbharath Enterprises
ISBN: 50225Buy this book from NHBS.com
Forums & Mailing Lists
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Discussion Group Intended to be a forum for the exchange of informationincluding notices, etc. pertaining to the birds and otherwildlife of the city of Bangalore in India, and its environs. The Birdwatchers in Bangalore have an Email discussion group that has been around from the 3 years and is one of the oldest Wildlife related discussion groups in India. We have over 320 members and receive regular postings from over half of them. Visiting Travelers can get in touch with wildlife interested people in India through this group for knowing about places to visit and for technical help in identifications.
Guides & Tour Operators
All India Birding Tours
Your Birding itinerary depends upon your interests, the duration of the planned trip, and other matters such as your budget…
Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…
Eldhose Bird Tours
Eldhose K.V is an ardent and experienced ornithologist residing in Thattekkadu Bird Sanctuary in Central Kerala .He focuses on birding in whole of SouthIndia and he has been leading bird tours since 1999.His birding experience go back to his childhood when he was inspired by Dr.Salim Ali's book,"Birdsof Kerala".What started of a hobby grew to an intense passion.…
Sinclairs Bird Watching
Hotel Sinclairs offers three exotic destinations for bird lovers, namely Dooars, Portblair and Ooty. A pursuit for families, groups and individuals, birdwatching is becoming increasingly popular today. Birding is easy and inexpensive, requiring minimal equipment, skill and physical fitness. With their diverse habitats and hospitable climate, it is easy to see why the three destinations among the best for birdwatching in the Indian sub-continent…
CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.
2011 [03 March] - Ravi Kailas - South India Endemics
Notably, we had a number of sightings of Great Hornbill - this being the nesting season, perhaps males had to fly far in search of food to take back to the brooding female in the nest. Another notable sighting was of a bull Gaur, less than 20 ft from us, while walking in a magical bamboo forest. Another endemic primate, the acrobatic Nilgiri Langur, were ubiquitous and species of deer, wild boar and other smaller mammals were frequently seen. Bird endemics sighted included Rufous Babbler, White-cheeked Barbet, Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Malabar Parakeet, White-bellied Treepie and Malabar Grey Hornbill. A walk along a forested canal bordering the reserve, provided excellent sightings of Stork-billed Kingfisher and possibly of a Brown Fish Owl, taking off before we had a chance to confirm ID…
Places to Stay
Dubare Elephant Camp - Dubare Reserve Forest
The Karnataka Forest Department has about 150 Elephants in various camps and Dubare has been historically an important camp. The Elephants for the famous Mysore Dassehra were trained here. But presently after logging operations have ceased, the Forest Department does not really know what to do with all its elephants! They (Elephants) have been practically retired except for giving some rides to odd tourists. At the same time, the Forest Department spends quite some money to maintain them and their mahouts..
Eldho’s Birding Lodge
Eldho’s Birding Lodge - is nestled deep in a 10-acre plantation. The lodge is for bird watchers and nature lovers. The envious location of the lodge affords long walks in the wild country and unexplored territories, the experience of which is enhanced by some of the most experienced guides...
Kabini River Lodge - Nagarhole National Park
Kabini River Lodge on the banks of River Kabini, Karnataka, India is a Jungle Lodges Enterprise and was Once the hunting lodge of the erstwhile Maharaja of Mysore. Kabini is today rated among the top five wildlife resorts in the world. Take the jeep safari through the Nagarhole National Park where you are bound to see herds of elephants grazing, wild dogs, bisons, deer, peacocks, wild boars a variety of birds and maybe if you`re lucky, those elusive big cats: the tiger and the panther…
Orange County Resort
Orange County is located at Coorg or Kodagu (Karnataka, India) as the local people call it, perched 800 meters above sea level at 100 kms from Mysore. Forests around Orange county is home to Sambars, Leopards and Monkeys besides a large variety of Birds, flora and fauna…
Wildlife Resort - Biligiri Rangaswamy Sanctuary
This is an unmatched combination of holiday at a hill-station and an opportunity for exploration of the wildlife. The resort is located in the heart of the Biligiri Rangaswamy Sanctuary (B.R.Hills) at K.Gudi, just 90kms. from Mysore, on a hilly terrain at an altitude of 3300ft., (to 5000ft.,) above sea level.
Birdwatchers' Field Club of Bangalore
The group has been active in conducting mid-winter waterfowl censuses. The club was also involved in a survey of wetlands around Bangalore in collaboration with the Forest Department of the Karnataka state and was involved in a comprehensive survey of water quality parameters including chemical, physical and biological status.…
Wildlife Aware Nature Club - Tumkur
Wildlife Aware Nature Club, WANC - as it is popularly known, was established in 1990 by a few young nature lovers. The first organization to be formed in Tumkur district (Karnataka state, South India) for the cause of nature and wildlife conservation, WANC today is considered as the most active & dedicated environmental NGO in this region. Working at grassroot level and carrying the message nation wide and internationally, WANC is a role model to other Environmental NGOs on how to make a contribution that makes a difference yet not depend on foreign agencies for monetory and material assistance…
Bandipur National Park
Bandipur National Park in Karnataka is a tiger reserve with an area of 900 square km. In the dense moist deciduous forests of this area the upper canopy reaches heights of 30m and valuable hardwoods like teak and rosewood are also to be found here. This is one of the finest habitats of the Asian elephant. Drained by the Moyar River, its open forest makes it easy for visitors to see the elephant and gaur in natural surroundings…
Biligiri Rangana Hills
Also known as the Biligirirangana range of hills, this sanctuary is situated between the Cauvery and Tungabhadra rivers in Karnataka.
Mudumalai National Park
The hilly terrain of the Western Ghats, clothed in dense mixed and moist deciduous forests, make Mudumalai (the ancient hills) a most attractive wildlife reserve. The Mysore-Ooty highway runs through the Park, following the course of the Moyar River, which separates Mudumalai from Bandipur. Just 321sq. km. in area the hilly terrain provides diverse habitats.
Nagarhole National Park [Rajiv Gandhi National Park]
Bandipur's northern neighbour, Nagarhole (Snake River) National Park, extends 640 square kilometres north from the Kabini River, dammed in 1974 to form a picturesque artificial lake. During the dry season (Feb-June); this perennial water source attracts large numbers of animals, making it a potentially prime spot for sighting wildlife. The forest here is of the moist-deciduous type - thick jungle with a thirty-metre-high canopy - and more impressive than Bandipur's drier scrub.
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
As we glided over the river, a huge flock of bats flapped above our heads on its way to a clump of trees. In unison we watched them land and grab a toehold each along the woods that we almost missed for they could barely be seen for the thousands of bats hanging from them. Every little island was home to nests of the most exotic birds I`d ever seen, and they were unusually quiet, seemingly lulled into silence by the serenity of the elegant river…
The Green Ogre
Beej - In the words of Nissim Ezekiel: 'Poet, lover, birdwatcher'. Embellish that with writer, journalist and travelmaniac…
Birds of Karnataka
Includes the first ever checklist to this south west Indian state, description with pictures of the state, its birds and birding, e.g. Western Ghats: The lifeline of south India, for all the flora and fauna. A virtual action zone for bird life (and also some of the largest and most beautiful butterflies of the Indian sub-continent). Many birds can be seen around streams and waterholes. Evergreen species (like Fairy blue bird, Malabar Trogan, Black and Orange Flycatcher etc) can usually be sighted in evergreen forests and high altitude…
Birds of Ranganatittu
Ranganatittu is a outstanding bird sanctuary in Karnataka (index, map). It is located at down stream Krishnanarajasagar reservoir in Kaveri river basin. It comprises of five islands, strewn with a large number of boulders. In addition to permanent residents, a large number of migratory birds visit the sanctuary in different seasons of the year…
Birdwatching in Bangalore
An informal page, for those who like the diversity of birdlife in Bangalore and love what the city and its environs have to offer. This page will also offer updates on all regular birding outings in Bangalore for those on FaceBook.
Checklist of the birds of Bangalore
Just what it says.
Photographers & Artists
Kiran Kashyap's Photologue
Tucked away from the city limits, in the middle of the forests is a place with abundant wildlife culture. Sangama is a popular destination for more than one reason. It is said that the river Kaveri meets it's tributaries at this place. A holy trademark for all pilgrims who'd take an anxious dip in the river to wipe off their sins.
Photographer - Manas Khan - In admiration of artless beauty
This photo gallery is . . . in admiration of artless beauty, the grace of God's creation in its purest and most truthful form…
Photographer - Sudhir Shivaram
I was bitten by the shutterbug even during my college days when I was part of the Malnad Amateur Photographers Society (MAPS) at the Malnad College of Engineering, Hassan. What began as a random interest in photography gradually gained direction and I became more and more focused on wildlife photography. It also helped that I had by then shifted base to Bangalore and it made it easier for me to frequent the forests around Bangalore-Mysore…